Monday, September 9, 2013

Critter on the Loose

I'm not sure who the culprit is, but when Simon and I went out tonight to pick tomatoes, I found this.

There were five tomatoes like this, all near the bottoms of the vines. Otherwise beautiful and perfect, until we turned it over and found half of it eaten. Why do critters only eat half of things??? I remember during our first year of gardening, we were absolutely taunted to insanity by a gang of chipmunks that would take tomatoes from the vines, take a few tiny bites, and then leave the tomato carcasses all over the yard and driveway. I was endlessly frustrated, and may have even yelled out loud one day, "Just eat the whole darn thing!" I don't know if the chipmunks have returned; the neighbors' outdoor cats have been so good about patrolling the area and keeping critters away. Perhaps it's time to meet with the cats and discuss a payraise? Two happy calls of praise instead of one per day?

I threw the 5 half eaten tomatoes into the compost, and felt a renewed appreciation for these particular tomato plants, which have produced like mad all summer long. I didn't feel so terrible about losing a few, when we've been harvesting so, so many. I have been so happy with Baker Creek's Amish Paste tomatoes; I'll be saving seed this year, and I have some left from my original purchase. Plenty to share if you are interested in having some!

Simon and I set to work filling up our bowl, and as you will see in these pics, our tomato plants have become very heavy. Cages leaning, plants sprawled on the ground...I've got to take note that next spring we'll need stronger tomato support. I've got plenty of ideas (some of which I've posted here on the blog), but cages are just so easy. It's not until halfway through the summer, when the tomato plants are ginormous, that I always realize why those flimsy cages just don't cut it.

Alien tomato! A worm or caterpillar had eaten right through to create 'eyes', and a crease on the tomato looked like a creepy smile. Spooky! I'll spare you the grisly details of Simon's decision to kill the alien. Shudder.

A mess! Cages bent over and the plant on the end is completely on its side. I'm letting them go so I don't damage anything. I've been tying them up all summer long; now they can go crazy until summer's end.

Just hang on a little while longer! There are about 6 big green tomatoes on this plant our neighbor gave us (still a mystery on the type. I'll post a pic soon).

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